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In a liberal democracy that Canada has enjoyed, there has been plenty of room for the freedom of conscience in a plural society.

So what has prompted the current Liberal government to attack the freedom of conscience with a bribe in the form of Canada Summer Jobs Program funding? Rex Murphy pokes the eye of Bishop Trudeau by asking:

What shallow hubris engenders the prime minister’s view that he has the authority to undo citizens’ religious and moral beliefs?

“The prime minister has recently… declared a doctrinal test for any who wish to make application for student summer job grants. If any church, charity or club wishes to apply for one — successfully — it is insisted they endorse and declare in writing their agreement with the Liberal party’s understanding on (a) abortion and (b) a whole raft of other progressive doctrines and dogmas on other sexual and gender issues.

It’s a strange turn. How does one get from students trying to work off their education debts to a government insisting its citizens declare themselves on issues of the deepest moral and religious sensitivity? From student jobs to the roiling tumult of abortion politics? I guess there is more than one way to spin a handperson’s tale:

“Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Roman Catholic Church?

“Yes.”

“No summer jobs for you!”

Attestation by any other name

Further Father de Souza wrote in the National Post:

The government began by insisting that applicants for the Canada Summer Jobs Program check off an “attestation” that they support the Liberals’ abortion policy. That was driven both by the party’s abortion extremism and ideological fundamentalism.

When churches — to say nothing of Canadians who objected on pure free-speech grounds — objected, the Liberals said that applicants should just check the box, because even if they favoured some restrictions on abortion it was not part of their “core mandate.” The federal cabinet thereby aggregated to itself the determination of the “core mandates” of churches and non-profits.

Separation of Church and State

I will not defend the curious partisanship that confounds faith and politics in the U.S., but history records that the impetus to create the separation of Church and State – was NOT to protect the State from the Church – but to protect the Church from the State championed as long ago as 1791 with the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Clearly the First Amendment was/is aimed squarely at preventing interference of the State through Congress. It was never presumed however that people of faith would have no right to speak into the public square or to access funding from their own tax dollars as is being suggested in Canada today.

It is ironic that people who emigrated to “the new world” came, for among many reasons, to escape religious interference from the state. Ironic because it appears that the current Canadian government presumes to determine the “core mandates” of churches and non-profits. It is remarkable audacity and arrogance similar to China reserving the right to appoint their own Bishops; surely it is overstatement to suggest this is what Trudeau wants to do… well, not in so many words.

Before there was a Canada, before there was a Liberal government, before there was political correctness gone mad, there have been people of faith serving and contributing to the fabric of this nation. Every day volunteers, services, churches, and regular folk go about providing for the common good. It must mystify this current government that though Christians are citizens and tax payers, we won’t succumb to the bribe at our own expense; we are not, as Father de Souza puts it, “interested in Trudeau’s 30 pieces of silver.”

Do you have the Freedom of conscience?

If you have the freedom of conscience, do you also recognize the right as entrenched in the Canadian Charter of Rights for others to hold thoughts and conscience different from you? Or is a person only allowed to think freely what you believe?

It comes as a bewildering surprise that the freedom of conscience only exists in nations where Christian thought has grounded it. What irony that such freedoms are being repealed in this post-Christian – now anti-Christian era.

Such are the days we live in.


For more, see the “Canadian Legal Fellowship” update.

For more see “Freedom of Conscience.”


In Contrast

Some time ago Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes interviewed Father Greg Boyle and others at “Homeboy Industries” – a job creation service for gang members in L.A.  Wallace was perplexed that Father Boyle worked to create jobs for former gang members whom he would not “turn in to the Police.”

Wallace asked one person, “Why do you think he won’t turn you over to the police?” The kid just stares at Mike Wallace, shrugs, nonplussed, and says, “God… I guess.”

To this Bolye writes,

Not much in my life makes any sense outside of God. Certainly, a place like Homeboy Industries is all folly and bad business unless the core of the endeavour seeks to imitate the kind of God one ought to believe in. In the end, I am helpless to explain why anyone would accompany those on the margins were it not for some anchored belief that the Ground of all Being thought this was a good idea.

Tattoos on the Heart, Father Gregory Boyle.


This is more… you know…